New build fret buzz

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by NickVibrolux92, Nov 27, 2021.

  1. NickVibrolux92

    NickVibrolux92 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I just finished building a killer MJT/Allparts Stratocaster but I'm a bit disappointed. Frets 15-18 are sounding the same note on the D,G,B and high E strings. I'm guessing that I have at least one high fret. Is that what it sounds like to you guys?

    I don't normally get into fret work because the right tools are ridiculously expensive and I don't want to screw them up. I don't have anyone within 200 miles to do any leveling. The neck was finished and the frets were supposedly dressed by a reputable neck finisher on Reverb. They are all sold as-is so no chance of return. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
    Scott Baxendale likes this.
  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    Hey Nick! I'll be glad to try to help, but first I need to know kind of where things stand.....

    What's the current relief when tuned to pitch? How about string/action height? I'm assuming you've assembled guitars before and aren't a setup n00b.....

    Once I know that info, then I can know if it's 100% for sure the frets, or some other issue.....

    Also make sure the neck is seated nice and flat in the pocket.....
     
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  3. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    Yes if they sound the same note you have a partial high fret from 18 or up....maybe that fret sprung(is that even a word) up a bit and you can try to set it in place a again with a dead blow hammer or something...if it seems though that its flush with the fretboard you(or someone else) need to file that fret(or frets) down.....iam pretty sure at this part of the neck its not something that the truss rod can do anyway so i would just put a masking tape on the 15th fret(two stripes) and then create a fallaway on the last ones so you can have a nice action effectively creating a ramp on the last frets...

    All that assuming what guitarmageddon says above is on point.....

     
  4. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Make sure the frets are all seated down first. I use super glue and clamping cauls to make sure every fret is seated down especially on the ends. If your neck is straight and the frets are all seated then the fret plane should be even. Also make sure the relief is set as flat as possible at first. If you sight down the neck and reflect the light off the tops of the frets you should be able to see which fret(s) are causing the problem.
     
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  5. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    "building" a guitar is more than just bolting together the parts.

    Once assembled, that's when you do a Fret Level, and then the required Fallaway

    You don't need any expensive tools to fret level, but of course, there is no shame in having your local 200 mile luthier level the frets, cut the nut and set the action.
     
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  6. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    You have to level the frets under string tension. The body and your gauge of strings all come into play.

    Even the expensive neck shops like Warmoth do not do a fret level on their necks before shipping. That's on you.
     
  7. GhostJam47

    GhostJam47 Strat-O-Master

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    This is good to know!

    I learned this lesson as it relates to new nuts a while back.
     
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  8. Geoff06

    Geoff06 Strat-Talker

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    I know it's not of much immediate consequence now, but did you clamp the neck on really firmly with some type of caul when you attached it to the body? My first project, a kit guitar, ended up with a few low frets due to that. They hadn't been fully seated in the slots before attaching the neck to the body and my clamping effort was exorbitant.
     
  9. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up Custom Title Silver Member

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    That's insane. My entire guitar costs what one of their necks cost and the frets are level on it.

    And I agree. There's a HUGE difference between assembling a guitar and building a guitar. Seems like the OP is at the assembly stage.

    Same thing in the automotive industry. There's guys that assemble engines: they just put the parts together. And there's guys that build engines: they blueprint every part and take specs of everything, then massage what parts need massaging to fit perfectly, set clearances, etc...

    The assembly guy does none of that. He bolts it together and says "I built an engine!". No, fella. You assembled one. You bolted a bunch of stuff together. That's assembling, not building. They're usually also the guys that just change parts until whatever is fixed instead of actually diagnosing the problem correctly(speaking in automotive only).
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
  10. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    There is no way for Warmoth to level the frets under tension, without assembling the guitar for you, with your choice of strings.

    Top brands like Gibson, Suhr, Lakland and G&L level the frets under string tension (Fender does not)

    Sometimes you get lucky and a new neck is "close enough", but I always assume any new neck (or non-PLEK guitar) will need a little leveling to become a dream guitar
     
  11. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    My good buddy has done fret level and crown on like 5-6 guitars for me, and hundreds of local musicians/players over the years....he is known as THE guy and nobody can touch him even though his prices are very cheap compared to others. Not once has he ever leveled and crowned a neck under tension. He always straightens the board completely, and will even remove frets and plane the fretboard if it's not true.....but most of the time he just sets it flat, levels and crowns when it's in that neutral position, and every single player is happy with it afterward.....

    He DOES put new strings on and give it full setup tweak when he's done though....
     
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  12. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    He is old-school, absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    We have a few of those shops in my surrounding area.

    They farm out of the **impossible** jobs to us, we quietly do the work, and everyone is happy.

    Some necks layout perfectly flat with the truss rod just barely engaged off the body, but then go completely wonky once placed under 180 lb of tension. Especially multi-scale necks.

    Another local shop with a plek machine farms all of the stainless fret work to us, because they say the stainless frets wear out the cutting heads on the plek machine somehow. I'm not joking....
     
  13. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Plek apparently still can't do fanned frets, so those usually get farmed to us too


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